Church’s housing projects possible due to ‘bayanihan’

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MANILA, Nov. 30, 2014 — It’s no exaggeration to say, but a Church body’s housing projects would have been different without the “bayanihan” practiced among its beneficiaries.

“The one very good thing NASSA/Caritas Philippines can really be proud of with its shelter construction program is the level of community partnership it was able to develop and instill in the consciousness of its family beneficiaries,” shared Engineer Mehul Savla, NASSA/Caritas Philippines technical advisor for shelter, during the recent opening of the 2nd Caritas Shelter Learning and Way Forward Workshop in Cebu City.

Savla, who is also a shelter construction expert, noted that besides ensuring that all shelters built in the nine dioceses are able to meet international standards imposed by the UN Shelter Cluster, the shelter component of the #REACHPhilippines project was able to institutionalize a beneficiary counterpart system called “sweat equity.”

Caritas Philippines will be building 3,753 shelter units (ten designs, eight resilient features) in nine dioceses (118 communities) across Visayan Region under #REACHPhilippines Project. (Photo: NASSA/Caritas Pilipinas)

Helen Roa, program manager of Jaro (Iloilo) Diocesan Social Action Center, remarked sweat equity” has helped them fast track the shelter construction in all 17 communities.

“At the start of the construction phase, our labourers were able to finish the houses in 12 days but when we applied the ‘bayanihan’ spirit through ‘sweat equity’, we were able to lower down the construction days to only 6 days,” she explained.

“Since everyone in the community, especially those beneficiaries who already have their new houses, wanted to show appreciation and generosity, would help in the construction, we were able to even lessen the construction days to just three days still without sacrificing the quality of the construction,” Roa added.

The other eight dioceses share the same story.

Edlin Indon, program manager of the social action centre of the Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay in Coron, Palawan, stressed that “winning the communities’ participation made the construction of houses more of a community project than a dole-out program from a non-government organization.”

Under #REACHPhilippines project, NASSA/Caritas Philippines is set to construct and turn-over 3,753 permanent, core progressive and transitional houses byl March 2015.

NASSA (National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice, and Peace)/Caritas Philippines, is the advocacy, development, and humanitarian arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCPNews)

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